Berra — Unicorns And Rhinos
????, Sea Season
Late in Sea Season. Berra meets the cutest colts in the world [[[s01:session-30|Session 30]]]
Boldhome, about a week after the Clearwine visit. Berra is walking armed and armoured around Naril’s horse-pens, casually ignoring the less magnificent animals, and looking for the pointed ones. She sees Tiwr and Nala a little after they have had the chance to see her.
Tiwr is cropping grass contentedly. Nala is seated on the ground like the woman from the unicorn tapestries, with a sleeping foal’s head on each thigh.
Berra looks down and grins. “Hello,” she says in the voice of adults trying not to wake children. She gives Tiwr a nod.
“Hi,” says Nala quietly. Close up, you can see the soft foal fuzz on their necks and backs. “ I need to learn ‘Sleep,’ I think. ‘Slow’ helps but isn’t quite good enough.”
“They’re sweet. Are the hooves sharp?” Berra sits down at a polite distance, and stretches forward to look at the foals. “Do they have names yet? Is there a ceremony for that?”
“They are very sweet. Until they begin to talk, at least. Leaving in a couple of days or so so that the people here aren’t subjected to that. The horns are sharper than the hooves. Their names are Gwydir and Gwrych. I’ll anoint them with runes before we leave. I’m hoping Kalis will bless them.”
Berra looks at them for a while, before saying, “They are going to be tall. I’m not used to seeing colts with legs like that.”
“I need to get them to the herd so they socialise properly. I’m not really a herder.”
“Oh, right. I see. Yes. I had meant to ask you a favour that is probably not going to happen. Uh, that is, because it’s very unlikely. Not because you’re cruel. Should I have stopped talking already?” Berra seems confused.
Berra points to herself with her thumb, and raises her brow in question, as if there is another one of her for Nala to be talking to. “Me? Yes. Just… I have part of me in a bad mood, because I left the Temple for a run because I couldn’t sit still, and I’m thinking about a lot of things and I don’t think clearly when I do that. But other than the bad mood somewhere in me, all is well. Thank you for asking. You?” Multiple emotions play over her face as she reels off her inner state, like each part needs to take a turn to be examined.
Nala blinks. “I’m fine.we are all, as far as I can tell.” She is patently very happy, and that fills out the heightened charisma, as opposed to the latter masking Nala, which has been the “normal” state. Whether it is “her” babies or the prospect of going home overjoying her is t clear.
Berra smiles slowly, relaxed. “Good. So, strange favour. I’m asking because you’re going to get closer than I will this season. I want to know the name of someone who died famously. He gave me his sword, but he was dead then, and I didn’t ask.”
Nala raises her eyebrows, but nods, listening.
“He was dead, on his war rhino, a day outside a place called Koli, to the Western side of Prax, the Southern East of Sartar. We had ridden out of that village for half of a day, and crossed a river. He was in a copse by some rocks, on a plain. There was not much else there. He had been cut about with many swords, and pierced with many arrows. Mellia and I thought the wounds were made by curved swords. From the damage he took, I think he must have been a berserker.”
Nala nods. “Is he still there, do you think?”
“Not his spirit. There has been a storm since then, and it will have taken him. I was sent there – or past there – by Venna, Argrath’s Storm Khan. She might know who he was, but I get the idea a fight like that would be sung about. But I feel I should know who held Wind Tooth before me, as well as the name of the sword.”
Nala nods. “What route I take depends on how well the babies take to travel. But if I see Venna or the rhino tribe, I will ask.”
“Thanks. I’m not expecting – not asking – anything more than that. It will be good to know, and if I survive the coming season I should have time to remember him properly. If not, I’ll ask about him of the Dead.” Berra half closes her eyes, looking sleepy.